Phaedrus' Street Crew
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Everything posted by Urthman

  1. I'm kind of surprised that people like that CPU Bach thing. What I love most about J.S. Bach are his beautiful melodic lines (sometimes found in the bass when, for instance, he's arranging a fairly plain hymn tune), which you just don't get from the kind of noodling a computer can do.
  2. Come, now. Surely we can all agree that Rocket: Robot on Wheels was the best N64 platformer.
  3. Guild Wars 2

    Yeah, I was not complaining that colors and styles are a money-maker but that styles you've already unlocked or just plain colors are a limited resource at all.
  4. Guild Wars 2

    I jumped on to the F2P version just to take a tour of what looked to be a pretty spectacular world. Even with that expectation, I have been continuously blown.away.ign.com. I've explored and uncovered about 1/3 of the map, and I think I have now said “Holy Shit!” or something similar more times playing this game than in all the other games I’ve played combined. The environment design in this game is unbelievably beautiful. And not just beautiful, but creative and surprising. There are so many great hidden caves and underwater passages. So many moments like exploring the Lost-World-esque jungles of Caledon Forest, poking my nose into what seemed to be a little cave and instead discovering Spekk's Laboratory. "Holy shit, I'm in a different genre than I thought, more Enik from Land of the Lost than Lost World." And the thing to do in there was more interesting than I expected. Last night I finally got to Lion’s Arch, and I was feeling almost weepy at how grand it was. Especially realizing that after they had built this astonishing sand castle they had the balls to just kick the whole thing over for a big event a couple years later and left it in ruins for a while before rebuilding it to what it is today. Wow. I think my only disappointment is that the only other MMO I've tried is DCUO, which lets you freely switch to any style you've unlocked and gives you the entire color palate to customize your character, so having to pay for colors or to switch the look of that powerful but stupid-looking piece of armor seems ridiculously petty. But other than that, I haven't felt restricted at all by my F2P status. I feel like they just handed me about 6 Bethesda-sized games for free.
  5. To be fair, I imagine most American games that use Ninjas and other bits of Japanese culture and mythology probably feel the same way to someone in Japan.
  6. I just wanted to stand up and give a long, slow golf clap to whichever marketing drone over at Microsoft came up with that deliciously brazen non-explanation for why they're skipping the number 9 on the new version of Windows.
  7. But the only place that really shakes out is in the Kickstarter reward tiers. To most backers, a $2 million Kickstarter that promises you a cool game if you pledge $20 is no different from a $20,000 Kickstarter that promises you a cool game if you pledge $20. The iPhone App store economics only kick in if the Kickstarter offering a copy of the game if you pledge $20 has to compete with Kickstarters offering equivalent games to backers pledging $1.
  8. I'm having trouble finding Kickstarter statistics by year. From their website, between 2009-2012 (what they called "The Year of the Game") games had raised a total of about $54M with seven games raising over $1M. As of today, games have raised a total of $310M with 42 raising over $1M. Now maybe you're right and most of this growth was earlier (say 2013-2014) and game Kickstarters have already peaked, but I can't find any evidence of that. On the contrary, there are currently two live game Kickstarters that have raised over $1M and total dollars raised by live Kickstarter campaigns is about $10.5M (based on previous trends, about 10% of that will be toward unsuccessful campaigns, so call it $9M raised in just the past month or so). Kickstarter doesn't break out backer statistics by genre, but they say that 30% of backers are repeat backers and 60% of money raised comes from repeat backers. So you're right that repeat backers are a significant part of Kickstarter funding. I sampled 20 current game Kickstarters and found that the ratio of # of comments to # of backers was pretty consistently about 15%. So even if we make the ridiculous assumption that people only ever make one comment, that's 85% of your backers who aren't leaving comments. More realisticaly, commenters are probably less than 10% of backers. With the repeat backer statistics in mind, we might assume that commenters give more money than average. Repeat backers are twice as important as their numbers (30% give 60%), so if commenters are maybe three times(?) as imporant as non-commenters, they might represent 30% of your total funding. The real question is whether the concerns raised by commenters are shared by non-commenters. To me, the presumption would be no, unless there is evidence otherwise. Even commenters aren't uniformly concerned about the minutia of game budgets, so I think it's a real stretch to think that these kinds of discussions play a significant role in whether a game gets funded. I maintain that it seems much more reasonable to assume that the majority of Kickstarter funding comes from people who only care about whether a game looks interesting enough that they want to drop $10-20 to pre-order it, that a significant minority might pay attention to concerns about whether they believe developers can actually deliver what they promise, and that the people who scruitinize game budgets and complain about devs being "too greedy" are an insignificant minority who can be safely ignored.
  9. I'm actually questioning the assumption that "the narrative about a game" in the game media has as much of an impact on sales as everyone assumes. There are some cases where word-of-mouth seems to have made a big difference in the success of a game, but I'm not sure that's typical, particularly if we're talking about these kinds of really inside-baseball feuds about how much money a developer asked for on Kickstarter.
  10. Yeah, I think the Thumbs have made the point on a previous 'cast or two that while you can get though a "difficult" film by just sitting back and letting it play, it's much harder to push your way though an awkward or off-putting game because there's so much more engagement required just to get from the beginning to the end. And I agree with Sean that it seems much more likely someone will be willing to engage with difficult content if the gameplay mechanics are fun and rewarding. And gamers seem much more willing to put up with weird, less-accessible gameplay mechanics if the content is immediately rewarding. Trying to do both pretty much limits your game to people who seek out weird and unusual game experiences for their own sake.
  11. Glad to know The Witcher 3 doesn't have any creepy face bugs like AssCreed Unity. http://www.pcgamer.com/witcher-3-mod-reveals-melting-faces-and-detachable-heads/
  12. But a successful Kickstarter usually has thousands of backers. Unless you have hundreds of different people all complaining about the game taking too long or the devs asking for too much money there's no reason to think a significant number of backers or potential backers care about those things. And even if you did get so many people complaining that it was equivalent to 10 or 20 percent of your backers or potential backers, even then I'd be really hesitant to assume those people's complaints are representative of the 80-90% who aren't complaining. People seem to assume there's a strong correlation between positive/negative chatter on the internet and the success of a game. I'm sure they're not totally unrelated, but my guess is that if we could really look at the numbers, the correlation is not as strong as we think. And because of things like the availability bias, our perception of the "consensus" of the chatter about a particular game might not even be an accurate view of what people are saying, never mind the views of the majority who aren't saying anything.
  13. Jake and Chris (I think) made reference to recent discussion of distorted expectations about what games cost and how long they take to make, and the idea that this could hurt Kickstarter campaigns because backers will think devs are lazy and greedy if they ask for the time and money it actually takes to make a game. I think it's a mistake to assume that the handful of whiners who make these kinds of critical comments about Kickstarter campaigns are representative of the population of Kickstarter backers and potential backers. Almost by definition, people who make comments aren't representative of the vast majority of people who don't. I don't have any actual data, but I would guess the vast majority of backers decide to fund a game based on one criteria: Do I want this game? I'd guess there is a smaller group that also have a second criteria: Do I think this team can & will deliver? And that's about it. I'd be very surprised if there were more than a tiny handful of people who would refuse to fund a game they wanted by a team they thought could deliver just because they thought the team was asking for too much and being "too greedy." On the contrary, I think most people are happy when a team they like making a product they want is successful and raises lots of money. When a Kickstarter fails, I think it's overwhelmingly because there weren't enough people who wanted the game and heard about the Kickstarter. Maybe in a minority of cases, it fails because a lot of people didn't believe the team could deliver what they were promising. So, making a game people want, getting the word out, and, to a lesser extent, convincing people you can deliver. Making sure you don't look greedy by asking for the amount of money you really need? I don't think that's an important consideration at all, no matter what the trolls are whining about.
  14. Anyone who has ever watched a soap opera knew throughout Season 2 that the only possible direction for the Nadine plot was that once everyone's relationships were firmly re-arranged in response to her amnesia, she would get her memory back, throwing everyone into turmoil again. I think that at an unconscious level, Nadine knows what's up, knows Ed doesn't really love her, and when her suicide attempt fails, she chooses this crazy attempt to escape back into the past. I think her silly super-strength is a metaphor for the intensity of her denial, like a person trying SO HARD TO BE HAPPY AND SMILE ALL THE TIME AND NO THERE IS NOTHING WRONG I'M ABSOLUTELY FINE AND WE ARE VERY MUCH IN LOVE THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
  15. What's so special about pixel art?

    Or try a huge gallery of great pixel-art backgrounds, mostly from fighting games, I think. http://imgur.com/a/d30KO
  16. What's so special about pixel art?

    And then there's voxel art (yeah, I follow Tom Francis on Twitter). http://imgur.com/gallery/3dOfh
  17. What's so special about pixel art?

    More fantastic pixel art here: http://waneella.tumblr.com/
  18. Twin Peaks Discussion

    I just wanted to point out that Billy Zane seems to have turned into a real-life version of Dick Tremayne:
  19. IDLE THUMBS 200

    In fact, that's pretty close to what he already did (or will do) given Sweden's tax structure. The mere fact that Notch didn't ditch his Swedish citizenship to avoid paying taxes makes him way more progressive than, say, Bono and U2.
  20. IDLE THUMBS 200

    I think that's a misunderstanding. I think he was speaking with his game developer's hat on. He said it's silly that Forbes is making snide comments about how Notch spends his time when Notch has already accomplished more than pretty much any game developer alive. And I think you can make a pretty good case that Minecraft is a more positive contribution to society than most entertainment products that have made people rich. Does Notch deserve a condescending, "Look how he spends his time now," more than, say, George Lucas? I think not.
  21. IDLE THUMBS 200

    I think Braid is the only puzzle-platformer I've played that actually managed to give its game mechanics some allegorical significance (especially that amazing final level), although I think it also made the mistake Chris mentioned of talking too much about what it was about. If it had only been the game, the paintings, and the level titles, without any of the stuff in the books, I think it would be a much stronger and more resonant work. "Do you ever wish you could rewind time?"
  22. Oh, it will be fine. Which of us resents the Neanderthals whose various kicks and challenges helped us evolve better brains?
  23. Project Godus: Don't believe his lies

    But there's always the possibility that the developer is only asking for the portion of funding they need. Maybe they've got other funding (or maybe they intend to donate a bunch of their own time to the project) and they really only need $X additional Kickstarter funding to achieve A, B, and C, even if $X would be ridiculously too low by itself to make A, B, and C happen.
  24. Project Godus: Don't believe his lies

    I, on the other hand, see a categorical difference between hype about an existing product you want people to buy and making promises to crowdfunding backers you don't intend to keep. If you pre-order Watchdogs based on Ubisoft's hype machine, shame on you. You could have waited for reviews. But if a developer runs a Kickstarter and says, "If you give us X amount of money, we will deliver A, B, and C" then they've got to make every effort to deliver A, B, and C. Maybe A, B, and C will suck, that's the chance you're taking when you back them. But they should expect some harsh questions if they just throw up their hands and say, "Well, that was never going to be enough money to do B, C, or more than half of A." I don't think backers are entitled to get their money refunded, but I don't think it's out of line for them to tell Molyneux in pretty harsh terms that what he did is not okay, and is in fact damaging to the entire idea of crowdfunding.
  25. Reviews exist so we're to blame if we buy a finished game that doesn't do what Molyneux promised during development. Hype never takes my money unless I'm dumb enough to pre-order. I would hope that if Molyneux said to his publishers, "Give me X amount of money and I will deliver A, B, and C," but didn't give them B, C, or all of A, they would have some pretty hard questions for him.